Proposed restructuring for the East Capitol Street – Cardozo Line (Route 96 and 97)

September 3rd, 2013

Earlier this year Metro completed a comprehensive service evaluation study of Routes 96 and 97.  Metro is currently looking at implementing some of the recommendations that emerged from the study in order to improve the speed and reliability of service and to better balance capacity and demand throughout the line.  The proposed restructuring would entail the following changes:

  • Route 96 would run via 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue between 2nd & East Capitol Streets and Union Station.  The current route section between 1st Street NE, Constitution Avenue, 1st Street NW, Louisiana Avenue NW, D Street NE, 1st Street NE would still be served only during a.m. and p.m. peak periods by Route 97.
  • Route 96 would provide daily service, at all times, between Capitol Heights Station and Duke Ellington Bridge.  Service north of Duke Ellington Bridge would be discontinued and replaced with a new Route 98 that would run between the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail Station and the U Street Metrorail Station.
  • Routes 96, 97, and 98 would each run every 20 minutes during the AM and PM peak periods, providing 10 minute frequency between Capitol Heights and Union Station.
  • Routes 96 and 98 would run every 30 minutes off-peak and on weekends.

The map below illustrates the changes proposed. Please review and let us know what you think.  We will also be presenting these options at our upcoming public hearings.


Map of proposed changes to 96 and 97 routes, including new Route 98. Click image for larger version.


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  1. James Tedrick
    September 3rd, 2013 at 14:29 | #1

    You should also mention the alternative proposal for the 98- the extension of the H8 bus to Tenleytown. In fact, I’d suggest you group that part of this proposal, as well as the changes to the 42 & H line as a ‘NW cross-town restructuring’ in presentation.

  2. Michael
    September 3rd, 2013 at 15:19 | #2

    Having the 96 operate only every 20 minutes peak and 30 minutes off peak is not frequent enough for a growing part of the city!!! Riders can’t make spontanueous/unplanned trip with a 30 minute service. Why can’t we get some good bus frequency on the 96 along New Jersey between Union Station and Florida Ave/U Street?

  3. Dave
    September 4th, 2013 at 09:20 | #3

    I don’t see the point of splitting the 96 into two routes. That just makes trips to or from upper NW take even longer than they do now, since there will be added waiting time in between buses.

    What problem is this change trying to fix? I agree with the above commenter that the 96 needs to run more often than once every half hour. It’s the most convenient bus for me to take to U Street or Adams Morgan, but I often end up walking to the 90 or 92 because it runs so infrequently. I also make about three weekly trips to Woodley Park, and usually end up taking the 90 or 92 and walking because the 96 is so infrequent.

  4. September 4th, 2013 at 09:52 | #4

    It’s ludicrous to have the 96 discontinue at the Duke Ellington Bridge. It’s so close to Woodley Park! Finish the grid, take it across the bridge at least. Love the other changes, but seriously: connect to Woodley!

  5. Ross
    September 4th, 2013 at 10:16 | #5

    Keep the continuity of 96 running all the way to Tenleytown.

  6. Jim
    September 4th, 2013 at 10:54 | #6

    I like it, but I think the 96 and 98 should terminate at Union Station.

    The 96 is too long to be reliable and this only gets marginally better with the 98 addition.

    Running the 98 all the way to union station connects the west side completely and provides a better turn around than trying to terminate in the middle of a busy part of town.

  7. Bryan
    September 4th, 2013 at 10:57 | #7

    @David – the problem at Woodley (probably) is having bus layover space. Calvert, Connecticut and 24th Street all aren’t ideal for a bus layover – at least not in the area immediately adjacent to the metro station (and I think the Circulator already lays over on 24th in the limited space that there is). Conversely, there’s an existing bus layover facility right at the east side of the Duke Ellington bridge that’s pretty logical to keep using for those purposes.

    That said, connecting to the Red Line *seems* pretty logical if layover (and some added operational cost) could be mitigated.

    I fully support the rearrangement of the routing around Union Station. That readjustment alone will save riders a meaningful amount of time, and I know I’ll appreciate it. It should also save a meaningful amount of labor cost from speeding the service – perhaps those savings could be put toward an extension to Woodley Park?

  8. Sandy
    September 4th, 2013 at 12:16 | #8

    It makes a lot more sense to run the 98 from Tenleytown to Union Station rather than truncating it at U Street. The recommended configuration would make trips between the Bloomingdale/Eckington/Truxton areas and everything west of Rock Creek Park so slow as to be not worth taking. That hurts the new businesses that have sprung up in those neighborhoods. If necessary, the 96 could then end its route at 14th and U (like some of the current 90/92 buses) rather than continuing all the way to Duke Ellington Bridge.

  9. MetroDerp
    September 4th, 2013 at 12:39 | #9

    Regardless of the eventual routing/length, the headways listed here are absolutely ludicrous. This is a major city. This is a world capital. Running a single bus less frequently than a commuter train is an insult to anyone who relies on WMATA to get around the city. I use the 96 primarily when I need to get from Union Station to U/14th – it’s a great alternative to having to take the usually-poor-headways Red Line (at all) and then transferring to the Green. Many more routes should, in fact, encircle Union Station (and that should be far more of a hub with spokes than it is already).

    Moral of the story, though, is that for a route that so directly connects so many destinations, even 20 minute headways aren’t enough. This is a route that needs Circulator-level frequencies and even then some.

  10. Dave
    September 4th, 2013 at 13:13 | #10

    I think Bus 97 should use Bus 96 route from East Capitol to Union Station — Have you ever try riding Bus 97 when they turned right into Mass Ave from North Capitol? It’s less than 90 degree and dangerous for some riders.

    If that is not possible, then have Bus 97 reroute into E Street and terminate there. We have too many buses using Mass/First Street — created traffic backup and sometime the bus drivers do double-park on Mass Ave for a few minutes to load/unload passengers.

    All buses that pass Union Station need to be review and reroute — for instance, D6 — instead of turning left into North Capitol (from downtown on E Street) and right into Mass Ave — just continue on E Street and turn into Mass Ave to continue the route to RFK/Armory.

  11. Matt Dickens
    September 4th, 2013 at 15:00 | #11

    Yes to the change in routing around Union Station. It is silly how the 96 zigzags through there to cover an area you can walk to in 5 minutes.

    I would say extend the 98 to Union Station just because there is a desire for higher frequency service between U Street and NoMA.

  12. David Manowitz
    September 5th, 2013 at 13:31 | #12

    Though the existing bus layover spot east of the Duke Ellington bridge *seems* convenient to the Woodley Park Metro station, it is *just* far enough to be annoying! Why not have the westbound 96, if it will not run farther, AND the westbound 90 cross the bridge, drop people off at the metro stop, and if they need to wait, THEN go out of service to the layover stop? Similarly, when starting an eastbound trip, have any bus at the layover spot FIRST go to the Woodley Park Metro station to pick up any passengers there and THEN go on eastbound.

  13. Erica
    September 10th, 2013 at 11:57 | #13

    I commute daily from Bloomingdale to Friendship Heights. This already requires a 10-15 minute walk to the 96 then transferring to another bus along Wisconsin ave to make it to Friendship Heights. Total travel time is nearly an hour. The proposed changes will make it an even longer commute requiring 3 buses each way.

    There are plenty of people who are on the 96 bus every morning before Adams Morgan who are on the bus past the Duke Ellington bridge, so it seems like the 98 route will be filled with many people who currently only need to ride the 96 to reach their destination. Please reconsider.

  14. Alexander
    September 24th, 2013 at 09:52 | #14

    I agree with the majority of the posts here that truncating the 96 line is absolutely dumb. After years of unemployment I finally found a job that happens to be near Union Station and I live in Woodley. What luck! The 96 runs me almost door-to-door. Yes, it’s a bit infrequent, but I can just barely live with that and it’s so much better than the mole crawl on the Red Line. After a month of occupational bliss, WMATA drops this bomb on me. The new route system means I would have to switch buses (adding potentially 20 minutes each way onto the already barely tolerable between bus waits on the 96), or force me to transfer to the Green Mole, then to the Red Mole which could potentially strand me for hours. The only other alternative is the Red Line which is a gamble with your time and sometimes your life! I’ll have to drive to work. I have yet to see WMATA make a good decision yet, so I’m going to get my car serviced this weekend so it’s ready when this foolish idea gets going. For what it’s worth, extending the proposed 98 to Union Station would work for me, but what about the Capitol Hill folks who want to get to Wisconsin Ave? The 96 has its problems, but it works for a lot of people. In this town, that’s reason by itself to muck it up…

  15. Carlos
    September 25th, 2013 at 18:20 | #15

    My only concern with this is what what happened with the H2-H4 line, which used to run from Westmoreland Circle to Ft. Lincoln. Around 2000 Metrobus decided to cut the route into three segments: The N8 from Van Ness-UDC to Westmoreland Circle, the H2-24 from Ft. Totten to Brookland, and the H6 from Brookland to Ft. Lincoln. While the H6 line exists today the N8 is gone. There is no more service from Tenleytown to Westmoreland Circle via Yuma Street.

    My concern with this proposal is that, if Metro does sever the route in two, they will eventually kill the 98 line. And the only service left on that line will be the X3. So there will be then no service outside of the X3, which only runs in one direction in the AM rush hour and only the other direction in the PM rush hour.

    And at least in Ward 3 there are many routes that go from the DC/MD line to downtown, but very few that go across town. It’s very hard to go from Palisades, for example, to Friendship Heights without having to go to change buses in Georgetown. The M4 does exist, but it doesn’t run on the weekends. And so, on the weekends, taking the bus within Ward 3 is very difficult.

    But if they do create the 98 line what might make it successful is if, like the old N8, it went up to Tenleytown, to Spring Valley, to Wesley Heights, and Glover Park. Perhaps it could follow the current routing to Tenleytown, then go down Yuma Street, 49th Street, Massachusetts Avenue, Nebraska Avenue, New Mexico Avenue, Tunlaw Road, Calvert Street, Wisconsin Avenue, and then back to the current 96 routing. That way it would hit all those neighborhoods in Upper NW.

    Overall, though, severing the 96 line west of Woodley Park concerns me because I would hate to see the 98 line go the way of the N8. And given that route’s history that is a very realistic possibility.

  16. Carlos
    September 25th, 2013 at 18:23 | #16

    @James Tedrick
    My concern here is that, if Metro severs the route, the 98 could go the way of the N8, which eventually got discontinued.

  17. OJ
    September 25th, 2013 at 21:45 | #17

    Keep the 96 as is and in fact you should be running this bus more frequently. It provides a great connection from the Woodley Park area to Wisconsin Ave. Maybe tinker with the routing around Union Station but don’t give us a 98 which will force many people to transfer. On top of not having great headways.

  18. OJ
    September 25th, 2013 at 21:57 | #18

    If you’re intent on cutting back the 96 then do it somewhere on Wisconsin Ave so that folks can connect to the 30s.

    I really don’t understand why cutting the 96 will improve reliability. But even if it does, what about rider convenience? So I will repeat myself and ask that the 96 remain but with better frequency!

  19. Jason
    August 1st, 2014 at 13:39 | #19

    So, when is the reroute between East Capitol St. and Union Station going to be implemented?

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